Staff Stories

Get to know our first-gen staff

Our First-Generation Celebration is a time to celebrate our first-generation students! The campuswide celebration will be on Tuesday, November 8, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., in the Campus Center TV Lounge.

Get to know some of the Academic and Career Development (ACD) staff that are first-gen, too!

Jessa Trimble

Jessa Trimble

Director of Professional Development and HLSAC

What advice do you have for other first-gen students? Treat everything as a learning opportunity. Things might not go as planned or might be more difficult that you were prepared for, but you could really learn something from those experiences.

Who, or what, was your greatest support that helped you transition to college? My roommate and my advisor. As someone who was really shy, my outgoing roommate taught me to just ask questions and figure it out. Don't know the lingo? Ask someone what that abbreviation or acronym means. Don't know how to get to that class? Leave 10 minutes earlier than you would have and figure it out. My advisor was more gentle and encouraging—he taught me how to understand degree plans, communicate with my instructors, and make the most out of the "extras" in college, like internships, colloquial classes, and picking minors. 

What was your fondest memory of college? I don't know that I could pick just one. I think what I look back at most fondly from college are the times I spent with friends I still have today. Sure, I learned a lot and college is what prepared me for what I do now, but none of that would mean much if I hadn't met all of the amazing people I did! 

Chris Maroldo

Chris Maroldo

Director of Academic Success

What advice do you have for other first-gen students? Join study groups when possible. It's amazing how much more you can learn by discussing homework or prepping for tests with your peers. I remember my first few months as a freshman. I thought I was one of the only ones who didn't understand some of the concepts in my intro to sociology course. So rather than embarrass myself by raising my hand, I kept quiet. I later found out when I joined a study group that no one else understood the same things I didn't! We worked on those problems together and did well on the next few tests. Don't be shy about asking your instructors, your advisor, and even some of the students in your classes for help when you need assistance. 

Who, or what, was your greatest support that helped you transition to college? I was a year behind my best friend in high school. He went to college before I did. When he came home for the holidays, he encouraged me to apply to the same school. We were both musicians and wanted to continue playing in our band, so I ended up where he was. It was much easier for me to make friends when I knew one already. We hung around the same people, and the band was playing more and more, so the beginning of my college experience was based on a gut feeling that I should go where my friend was. That's probably not the best way to choose a school, but for me it worked.

What was your fondest memory of college? This will sound a bit strange, but my fondest memory was getting academically dismissed from my college. What that allowed me to do was to take a break from the rigors of academia and took a couple of semesters off to play in the band, work full time, and come to the realization that I was not going to be a rock star and that I'd better get my degree first. So after I was mentally ready to tackle college again, I picked the major that felt the best for me (teaching), buckled down, and graduated. The second fondest memory? Going back to school to get a master's degree. Those decisions ultimately led me on a long and winding path to IU Indianapolis and becoming one of the directors in our office.